Hopefully, you make healthy decisions most of the time on most days. Taking care of yourself should be part of your regular routine. And this of course includes your dental health. So we wanted to mention some important daily habits that promote oral health.
1. Brush Your Teeth Properly
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day. And most people don’t brush long enough; a tooth-brushing session should last for 2 minutes. If you think you could use it, here’s a refresher lesson on proper brushing technique. Brushing your teeth removes food particles and plaque that can lead to tartar, gum disease, and tooth decay.
If you or your kid wear them, here’s some information about how to brush and floss with braces.
2. Brush Your Tongue Too
There are lots of interesting facts about your tongue, and one of them is that it needs to be brushed twice a day just like your teeth. Plaque builds up on your tongue too. Fortunately, it’s easily removed with a gentle brushing using your toothbrush. Just be careful not to go too far back, or you can trigger your gag reflex.
3. Don’t Brush Right After Eating or Drinking
It’s best to wait about 30 minutes after eating or drinking to brush your teeth and tongue—especially after consuming something acidic or sugary. These substances temporarily soften your enamel, and the act of brushing them into your teeth can lead to lasting damage. But, if you wait at least half an hour, your mouth will naturally remove a lot of these substances from the surface of your teeth and your enamel will harden again.
4. Floss When You Brush
Floss both sides of every tooth. Here’s a guide to proper flossing technique from the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Remember to pull the floss to the right and to the left when it’s in between two teeth. Lots of people only go in one direction, which really only cleans the side of one of the two teeth. This is one of the most important daily habits that promote oral health that’s often ignored. Your toothbrush simply doesn’t remove particles and buildup between your teeth effectively enough.
5. Use Antibacterial or Antimicrobial Mouthwash
Swish one of these bacteria-killing mouthwashes around according to the label instructions once or twice a day. Shortly before bed is the most beneficial time of day to do it. That’s because it wipes out harmful bacteria in your mouth that can do damage overnight, when you’re not producing as much saliva to help rinse it away.
6. Use Fluoridated Dental Care Products
Fluoride is a natural element that helps repair damage to the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Choose a toothpaste and a mouthwash that contains fluoride. One reason it’s so important to brush for a full 2 minutes and rinse with mouthwash for as long as is recommended on the label is because that allows enough time for the fluoride to penetrate into the enamel.
Do note, however, that children under 6 years old shouldn’t use products with fluoride.
7. Drink Water Throughout the Day
This is a pretty standard piece of health advice, and it’s applicable to your oral health as well. It helps rinse food and plaque buildup off your teeth and gums. But it also helps keep you hydrated, which in turn helps prevent dry mouth. And did you know that dry mouth is one of the common causes of bad breath?